WMBTSG Day Six (Make comments to this post to participate)

Welcome to day six of the annual Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway. One lucky winner will walk away with Writer Mama by Christina Katz (that’s me), a Writer Mama Creative Manifesto mouse pad, and a Writer Mama wall clock.

About Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids:

As a mom, you want to spend as much time with your children as possible. But you’d also like to make some money doing something you enjoy. How do you get the best of both worlds? Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids by experienced freelancer Christina Katz tells you how. You can start a stay-at-home freelance writing career tailored to fit your family and lifestyle.

Writer Mama will answer all your questions about how to get started, in realistic, easy-to-follow steps. While conversational and easy-to-read, this book also does a lot of hard work for you. It gives you practical advice and exercises that help you get started in a matter of weeks. You’ll get tips on how to:

  • begin with the easiest routes to publication for moms
  • network with other writer mamas, editors, and agents
  • write cover letters and queries
  • choose your own writing specialty
  • create a Web presence
  • set up a home office
  • make time for yourself, your kids, and your writing

You’ll love the short chapters, sidebars, and exercises that let you get the information you need in small doses that fit into your busy schedule. Plus this book was written to grow with you. Once you master the skills of being an article writer, it teaches you how to pitch a nonfiction book idea and explore other areas of writing—advice you won’t find presented like this anywhere else.

So if you want to get started writing for publication, let writer mama Christina Katz help. If she and countless other moms can do it, so can you!

Hands down, a treasure!
~ Allena Tapia, About.com

Writer Mama is a solid, sensible guide that is sure to help any woman who wants to pursue a professional writing career while raising her children.
~ Eric Maisel, author of Creativity for Life

What a find! Writer Mama is a must for any woman beginning a freelance career.
~ Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, author of Pen On Fire.


Christina Katz is the author of Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform (Writer’s Digest Books, October 2008) and Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids (Writer’s Digest Books, March 2007). She has a BA from Dartmouth College and an MFA from Columbia College, Chicago. Christina lives in Wilsonville, Oregon, with her husband, daughter, and too many pets. Christina teaches over one hundred students a year, speaks at writers conferences around the country, and has published hundreds of articles in magazines, newspapers, and online. She is the publisher of Writers on the Rise with thousands of subscribers and has appeared on Good Morning America.


Writer Mama Creative Manifesto mouse pad and Writer Mama wall clock from Writer Mama Stuff at Café Press.

Original Writer Mama cover art by Claudean Wheeler, modified by Burton Haun.


Today’s question: First give us your biggest writing-related time-crunch challenge. Then coach yourself as to how to respond to the challenge in a way that will address it. (Why not test it out your advice this week and see if it works?)

If this is your first comment in the giveaway, please read “Da Rules.”

Comments accepted to this post until midnight on September 6th.


21 Responses to “WMBTSG Day Six (Make comments to this post to participate)”

  1. 1 Margay September 6, 2008 at 2:44 am

    My biggest challenge is the fact that the time that I am the most productive coincides with the time that I’m usually getting my girls off to school. Part of my challenge has already been resolved in that the older of the two just got her license and can now do the driving so I can stay home and work.

  2. 2 Debra Ross September 6, 2008 at 5:39 am

    In my role as publisher/editor/writer/bottle-washer, I write a weekly e-newsletter for parents detailing what’s going on for families in western New York State. For seven years, this newsletter has gone out on Friday mornings, but in a recent poll, 82% of readers voted for THURSDAY. This means that I now have one fewer day in the week for gathering information and writing the newsletter–if the week begins Monday. So it feels as though I’m writing it mid-week rather than the end of the week, and it is MUCH harder.

    I think I should make a policy of starting to think about next week’s newsletter the previous Friday instead of Monday. Also, when I have ideas for what should go in, I think I will email myself full paragraphs rather than snippets of ideas as I’ve always done—surely I can carve out time for a paragraph once or twice per day. That way Wednesday afternoons won’t seem so daunting.

  3. 3 krysk September 6, 2008 at 5:43 am

    My biggest time crunch challenge is that when I finally do get a chance to sit down to write, like when my son has a nap, or when my two children are busy playing or something like that – I always feel that my first task is to answer emails and return phone calls that always seem to be piling up. Instead, I really need to tell myself that I have to outline an article, write a filler or short article, work on my writing for 20-30 minutes, before I can even look at my email, or even think about making a phone call. I need to take what I do more seriously at times. I think it would also help if I sorted my daily tasks into those I can do when the kids are circling (laundry, dinner prep) and those that I can only focus on when they are busy (reading, writing, outlining). Let’s see how I can go forth today!

  4. 4 Cheryl M September 6, 2008 at 6:54 am

    My challenge is that I feel I need at least an hour to figure out where I’m at in my writing. I want to re-read what I’ve written, think about where to go, and only then get started writing. The problem is I rarely have an hour to sit down at the computer, or maybe rather once I check my e-mail, read newsletters or whatever else, my hour is mostly gone.

    So, one, I need to limit e-mail to once a day or a time that doesn’t overlap with my writing time. Two, keep a writing file open on my computer rather than e-mail or the internet to motivate me to look at that first. Three, see what I can do in 15 minutes, maybe I can get better at doing things in short bursts.

    Maybe I should print this out and stick it on the wall!

  5. 5 Angie Goodloe September 6, 2008 at 8:01 am

    My biggest challenge is hoping my 8 week old will sleep while my toddler takes her nap early in the day so I can get some writing in. If this does not happen, my husband is very supportive and watches the kids while I write when he gets home from work in the evenings. I am much more productive earlier in the day however, so I hope I can continue to have the kids on the same nap schedule.
    There has been a few times when I have woke up in the middle of the night with insomnia and got some writing in while everyone was asleep- but this does not happen often.

  6. 6 anniegirl1138 September 6, 2008 at 9:00 am

    My biggest challenge is just finishing a piece or novel. I hit the wall and then suddenly all the things I neglected while writing become important again. Laundry, vacuuming, organizing the recycling or even cleaning the bathroom. I wish reorganizing my office would make the list one of these times because I would at least be accomplishing something related to my writing.

    I know what I need is a schedule and a place to work away from home. For a while I contained my “finishing issues” by going to the library every morning. Once my yoga classes start again next week (they are in the downstairs part of the library) I will be working there again and will get back on track – hopefully.

    We have plans to move the home office out of the tiny little bedroom and take over the living room. Huge reno plan really. We don’t use the living as we don’t watch tv and most socializing occurs in the dining room anyway. I am thinking that the better lighting and roominess will encourage me to stick to tasks also.

  7. 7 Teresa Hall September 6, 2008 at 9:09 am

    My biggest challenge is actually from my teenager. Trying to get her to understand that I am actually working and not just hanging out on the computer is a daily challenge. Being 16 she tends to think the world revolves around her- imagine that 🙂

    This week I will arrange my schedule so that when she gets home from school I can take a break for an hour and be fully present to all her needs. Then when she is settled in to homework, I will get back to my work. I will extend my daily shop hours by one hour to accommodate this break. It’s just the two of us at home here, so I have the flexibility to re- arrange my hours without interrupting anyone else’s day.

  8. 8 writerinspired September 6, 2008 at 9:40 am

    Wow! Talk about timing, Christina. I just posted some tips on my blog a few days ago at http://writerinspired.wordpress.com/.

    Of course, do as I say and not as I do keeps popping up in my mind!

    Working full-time outside the house gives me my lunch hour to browse markets while climbing the stairmaster (I read my targeted magazine.)

    I am also an email addict (like Cheryl), so I try to free write in a notebook instead of even turning my laptop on (fewer temptations!)

    And I just started using the free ebook from organizedwriter.com to write down my goals to keep me focused. Deadlines are my friend!

  9. 9 rowena September 6, 2008 at 10:09 am

    My biggest writing challenge is writing my novel while being a full time stay at home mom. Nap time is too frequently taken up with necessary tasks. Then I lose my momentum.

    How to overcome?

    Plan my necessaries into my writing time. 15 minutes to eat lunch, while checking email, sure. I must make sure I keep up my energy.

    15 minutes to shower and dress.

    Then… no, do not go back online to check on that message or this blog… sit down straight to work on the novel. In fact, get a timer and set it for fifteen minutes, that’s all I need. 15 minutes to get started. And maybe I will get into my groove and keep writing for an hour or until the kids wake up. Or maybe I can stop after an hour and get some prep done for dinner.

    Maybe also print out the new work and review that while dinner is cooking or the kids are watching Diego. Or even after bedtime when I am too tired to start a project.

  10. 10 Amie H September 6, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Like many writer mamas when I get a free moment I rush to my computer to write but easily get distracted by the internet. I think when I get that scrap of time I am going to sit down at my desk first (the one without the computer) and freewrite and rough out some ideas on actual paper – that way when I get to the computer I will be a little more focused and able to jump into my writing. I need that segue to switch my mind into writing mode. It’s easy to just be busy busy but when I sit down and take some time to clear my thoughts I am able to let other things come to the surface that may have been buried under the clutter of distractions.

  11. 11 Cara September 6, 2008 at 10:51 am

    I think my biggest challenge is that when my free time finally arrives, and I am sitting at the keyboard with my fingers expectantly poised over the keys, more often than not, I just can’t seem to write. My inspiration, it seems, refuses to work on a time schedule. After 23 years of raising children, you would think I would have learned to ignore interruptions and write whenever the mood strikes, but alas, not so. There’s something about the relentless “Where did you put my blue Under Armor?” and “What’s for dinner?” that seems to break my train of thought every time.

    So what to do about it? Well, I’m working on developing a technique where I block out the pieces in my head when I am doing some mindless task, like laundry or washing dishes, or better still, when hitting the elliptical trainers at the gym or walking around the track. Then, I have something to go on when I finally do get the chance to sit down and write. It seems to be working pretty well, except it’s not always easy to recreate the pieces later on. Maybe I need to work on some memory exercises now…

  12. 12 Lisa September 6, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    My biggest challenge is learning to say no to others and yes to myself. When we moved to our town about six years ago we knew no one. I was a stay-at-home mom with a two year old. I wanted to get out, meet people, and get involved in our new community. Although I’m a big believer in getting involved, I kind of got too involved in projects and gave away too much of my time. It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve met some amazing people. But now that my son is in school all day it’s time for me to pursue my writing.

    So I’ve decided to get more detailed in my calendar keeping. I’m going to schedule in writing time for myself. No chores will be done, no meetings scheduled, no e-mail checking or Web surfing. I sure hope this works.

  13. 13 Jolynn R. September 6, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    My biggest challenge is health problems. A few months ago my Dr. refered me to a Rheumatologist who told me I had Fibromyalgia. Which causes muscle pain, escpecialy my back, when I sit. My time is very limited at the computer. (Also when I go to the movies, church and long car trips.) I try to use my time wisely at the computer,( no games for me.) I try to limit my time and have longer breaks in between so I don’t sit to long. In the past few months I’ve tried different pain killers, muscle relaxants, warm baths, heating pad,
    ice packs and muscle rub. Nothing has helped very well. If anyone has advice for Fibromyalgia treatment let me know.

  14. 14 Cathy September 6, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    I’m most time-challenged when I don’t have a deadline. If I have something writer-ly that I can put off till later, I will. Then I’ll put it off till the next day. Then the next day…well, you get the picture.

    I try to impose a deadline on myself with these kinds of projects. Sometimes, it even works. 🙂

  15. 15 Kisatrtle September 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    My biggest challenge is and always will be finishing what I start. This “monkey on my back” follows me in all aspects of my life. I do the laundry, i don’t put it away. I write a short story, I don’t send it out; I get online to check my email and instead end up at the Writer Mama? Will this craziness ever end…ugh. I must check my email now and put some laundry away!

  16. 16 Erin Maher September 6, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Because I work in an industry that does not have me at a desk, and have an hour commute each way, it is essential that time at the computer be efficient. However, I find myself lost in my reader for an hour, then perusing online fashion catalogs, and browsing through ads selling puppies, though I already have two dogs and two cats too many. The best word to describe it; tangent.

    My solution is to ask myself; “If I accomplish only ONE thing today, and feel satisfied, what is that one thing?” and then do that first.

  17. 17 Judy September 6, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Time – I always have too much on my plate and not enough time to get it all done. What I have started to do is to set a timer and when it goes off I go onto the next thing on my list. This causes me to really focus in on what I am doing (gives me a “deadline”). I prioritize the list so that I only have 3 – 4 things to do before I get to write. Then I try to get out of the house to write so that I am not tempted by distractions, like the endless laundry of a soccer-loving family of seven. I write until my “mommy schedule” starts up in the afternoon, beginning with taxi service for the next several hours.

  18. 18 Laura September 6, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    My biggest writing-related time-crunch challenge is simply getting myself to sit down in my chair and start to write. Being a single mother, I feel that I have to take care of everything. Even though my sons are now on their own, and it’s only my daughter & I, the time demands on me seem overwhelming sometimes.

    What I need to do this week is to actually follow the writing schedule I mapped out for myself. I need to decide that writing is just as important as getting the laundry folded, dishes washed, driving my daughter everywhere, and working my day job. If I can treat it as equally important, then I will be able to get myself into that chair, and my hands on the keyboard (or pen on paper). I will try it. Thanks, Christina!

  19. 19 alirambles September 6, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    My biggest time crunch is that I’m trying to work on two blogs (web presence) and a novel, and querying the novel…all in my spare time when I should be doing other things like homeschooling my kids and keeping the house from falling apart. My solution? I need something akin to a schedule. I always lean more towards scheduling when fall comes around, so this is a good time for me to do this.

  20. 20 Abbey September 6, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    I completely commiserate with Laura. My husband is in the military and gone all the time, so my challenge is to find the time to write and then when I find it, find energy so I can be productive. Writing comes last after all of the necessary things that have to happen throughout each day to keep my family running (like feeding the kids!!).

    I usually get a block of time to write in the afternoons during a mommy-imposed quiet time for all members of the house. I try to use this time to do things that require lots of energy: conduct interviews, write first drafts, organize my thoughts, write queries, etc. I have another big block of time in the evenings, but my energy is much, much lower after a day with my preschoolers. During this time, I try to research markets, edit, and accomplish tasks that require less energy.

  1. 1 WMBTSG Drawing: And the winner is… « The Writer Mama Riffs Trackback on September 7, 2008 at 8:57 pm
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